Online Gift Card Sales: Operational and Marketing Considerations

Online Gift card sales is expected grow at a rate of 29% annually to reach $5.8 billion* by 2014. While many business to consumer Brands offer Gift Cards, there are specific, and potentially profitable considerations to think about regarding online marketing.

It is important for retailers to have a gift card system that leverages the best practices for tracking, promotion and marketing functionality.

When developing a gift card site, we suggest the following:

  1. Saving a Source ID with the order will enable you to analyze data at the order level.For Example: Assigning a different Source ID to your Paid Search and Email campaigns will allow you to quantify the results of both programs separately. This will enable you to calculate Orders, Life Time Value, Average Order size, etc. by marketing channel.
  2. Tracking search terms from Paid and Organic Search with each order enables you to optimize search based on sales (especially valuable for SEO generated sales).For Example: Before you start an SEO program, you can see which search terms are generating orders and the size of those orders. Now, when you start your SEO program, you have a set of search terms that you know drive some level of results.
  3. The site should be able to fire individual conversion pixels which will enable you to run an affiliate sales program with accurate performance metrics.For Example: With individual conversion pixels you can run on multiple affiliate networks while ensuring that you are accurately tracking each.
  4. Shipping confirmation emails should also include the Shippers Tracking URL. This reduces the call volume/expense associated with Customer Service.
  5. Customers should be able to ship multiple Gift Cards to multiple addresses within one order.
  6. Ensure that you have proper Fraud Protection from the Payment Gateway Provider.
  7. The website should be able to accommodate multiple offers at the same time so that you can quickly test/optimize multiple offers. Don’t plan on testing offers? Please read this first, or this.
  8. To accommodate split tests, the site should automatically direct incoming traffic to the appropriate landing pages. This will allow you to ensure testing integrity on your marketing experiments.
  9. When a visitor sees an expired offer, they should be redirected to a current offer. This improves the customer experience and provides an opportunity sell to this customer.
  10. Abandoned orders should automatically be put into a “win back” email communication stream to increase sales. Read more about SitePreserver, a Shopping Cart Abandonment solution.

Having a gift card platform with these features and functionality will ensure that you are optimizing the experience for your customers and maximizing the yield on your investment.

*Javelin Strategy & Research

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